The federal opposition and crossbenchers have accused the Albanese government of "gagging" opposition voices and trying to "ram through" its contentious industrial legislation at "warp speed", just as key crossbenchers plead for more time and to spilt the bill.
It comes as key crossbencher David Pocock, who has heavy concerns about the Secure Jobs Better Pay Bill, has revealed he last met the Prime Minister in July.
The Labor government is facing its biggest legislative fight so far as it tries to rush through bargaining changes in the bill before the end of the year. Despite some fresh government concessions, crossbenchers such as Senator Pocock and Jacqui Lambie want the bill split in two to allow contested parts to be scrutinised while other changes for workers in low-paid, highly-feminised sectors could pass quickly.
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke is resisting all calls to split the legislation and late on Tuesday the bill was made "urgent", a parliamentary move which prioritises and curtails debate.
The member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie accused the government of showing contempt, gagging parliament and repeating the mistakes of the last government.
"Well, when you rush things through, you make mistakes," she told Parliament.
"This is a gag by any other name and we're seeing it over and over again for every piece of legislation."
Other House crossbenchers also expressed concern, with Kylea Tink described the bill as a "work in process", Bob Katter saying he was "somewhat cynical" about the move and Zali Steggall insisting there will not be proper scrutiny.
Mr Burke and unions are adamant that workers cannot afford to wait any longer for changes to bargaining rules which they claim will lift wages. He wants the House to pass the bill by Thursday so it will be sent to the Senate for consideration for the start of the next sitting.
"Australians are facing real pressures, part of that is prices and part of that is wages," Mr Burke said.
"This gives us an opportunity to do something about wages and I'm hoping that the parliament, both this house and the other, are able to act on that as quickly as possible."
Arguing against splitting the bill, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said the bill, as it stands, would be an incentive to employers to get bargaining.
"If you remove that part of it basically you're removing a big leg up," she told reporters. "All working Australians, everyone deserves a pay rise, a fair pay rise, not just one group of workers."
But, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has blasted the bill as a radical "trojan horse for the empowerment of unions in every workplace in Australia".
He accused Labor of trying to "push the bill through at warp speed" and of paying back unions "in spades" by rushing through a reform which will "usher in economy-wide strikes".
"Mr Speaker, this legislation is bad for Australians. It's bad for the nation, and it's bad for our future," Mr Dutton said.
But Senator Pocock may have the deciding vote in the Senate. He has been negotiating with the Workplace Relations Minister. The independent member for Curtin Kate Chaney met with Mr Albanese on Tuesday, with Mr Albanese telling Parliament he was always happy to meet with members of the crossbench, "as I am with anyone in this parliament who has serious policy issues to raise".
At a press conference, Senator Pocock said he had last met with Mr Albanese more than four months ago.
"Minister Burke is the minister who's in charge. I've had a lot of conversations with him over meetings," he said. "I last met the prime minister I think in July. I haven't haven't discussed this with him.
"I've had some really constructive discussions with Minister Burke and I'm sure that's going to continue over the next few weeks."
The ACT senator flagged he still has major concerns.
"I'm not here to be a rubber stamp. I'm here to work constructively and to ensure that we get this right and to ensure that we have enough time to get this legislation right," he said.